Repetitive Strain Injury from yoga?

Recently I have been trying to improve my arm and shoulder strength so that I can do better at arm balances etc. I have focussed on classes with lots of concentration on arm strength and lots of vinyasa. I also bought myself a pull-up bar to help with arm/shoulder work. I don’t feel like I’ve overdone it - a very small number of minutes a day on the pull up bar, and a yoga class every 3 or 4 days - sometimes more often.

For the last few weeks I have noticed what I think is RSI in my fingers, wrists and forearm. It has (I think!) improved when I have stopped using the pull-up bar and intensified after arm-focussed yoga (e.g. lots of plank/down-dog).

It’s worse in my right (scrolling) hand - I’m sure some of it can be put down to poor keyboard use, but there does seem to be an exercise element to it too.

Has anyone else experienced this? What has helped?
I’ve noticed at least one ‘wrist-free’ practice - does anyone have any suggestions for vigorous-ish classes that won’t aggravate wrist RSI?

I’d be grateful for any suggestions.



I was pushing myself towards stronger shoulders and arms and ultimately ended up with terrible pain in my joints and worse carpal tunnel. I decided that pushing myself was the backward way to move forward. I took my eye off the prize and focused on Fiji’s advice of “millimetre miracles.” I took the focus off shoulder classes and did sitting, standing, balance classes. Now I am pain free (this took many months)and inbetween days now consist of yin or restorative classes . Childs pose or puppy dog are good subs for downdog while recovering and I only did plank with knees on the ground or on my forearms. In Melissa’s class, Vinyasa, Focus on Twists, she offers locust instead of chaturanga which I enjoy. I hope this helps.


This is so helpful, thank you! I think I will take a similar route - working on sitting, standing and balanced-oriented classes. I’ve done Melissa’s classes less often as I’ve become stronger and I think I’ve forgotten how much I loved them! I’ll try that one you suggest.

Thanks again for taking the time to help!


I might review a couple of classes here for their RSI (wrists/hands) friendliness.

I really like Crista’s Koundinyasana fun I, so I don’t want to give it up. I’ve just done it and found it reasonably easy to adapt. I’m giving 3/5 for hand-friendliness. It only has a couple of vinyasa transitions and although there are other times when weight is on the hands, there is usually a work-around. During the peak pose I did a little back stretch instead. :raised_back_of_hand::raised_back_of_hand::raised_back_of_hand:


Helen Camisa’s A Wrist-Free Practice is lovely! And as you’d expect: :raised_back_of_hand::raised_back_of_hand::raised_back_of_hand::raised_back_of_hand::raised_back_of_hand:
There’s a lovely flow in it that was new to me, and plenty of movement, so it doesn’t feel like you’ve missed out just because you stay off your hands.